Category Archive : Success stories

Online Business In India That Made $52,000+ In 7 Months: Ankit’s Story

Can you launch and run a successful online business in India? What do you need to do to make it happen? Today, we’re talking to Ankit, a 21 year old online entrepreneur who kindly agreed to share his first-hand experience – so, welcome our guest!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please, introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Ankit Patra, a Bachelor in Computer Science, and an owner of an online business in India. I run 3 dropshipping stores mostly targeted at the buyers from the United States.

Why did you decide to launch an online business in India?

Frankly, it all started when I was looking for sources of income to become more independent in college. It is very normal and customary for Indian students to be in college and still be totally dependent on their parents for their tuition and literally all of their expenses. I was no different but, I dared to think beyond just to at least pay for that meal on my own, you see it’s simple…I didn’t want to be dependent.

What motivated you to try AliExpress dropshipping model for your business?

Freedom. Isn’t that the reason why everyone enters into the online space in general? Well, the dropshipping model was the most welcoming with tons of content online and a lot of guides (not courses) available which made the initial process a breeze and I could literally search for any of the topics and there’s always more than 10 results to help me out with my problem. That gave me confidence as a newbie that okay, I can do this and there will always be people who can help me out.

How did your online business in India begin?

For my first store, I went with simple WordPress hosting and WooCommerce – I felt Shopify was too expensive. I used AliDropship Woo plugin to get this store going and with its help, my first store got off the ground.

I didn’t have much experience, though, and AliExpress was my first platform to experiment with. Maybe that is the reason for my initial failure, but trust me, I learned a lot from my failures to reach where I have reached today.

I have worked for months without success and testing tons of products only to be met with my fair share of failure. But I am a pretty disciplined individual and take my work seriously, so I kept going.

How did it all change? Do you remember the first sale made from your store?

Yes, I do remember the first sale: it was on the 9th of December, 2019. I just started running my ads and chi-ching! I got a sale for $29.95 (including shipping) for only $5 in ad spend and that was the motivation I needed. Frankly, I was elated and I am sure anyone would be. I am not very expressive with emotions but I won’t lie that I let that tear drop down when I saw my first sale.

It was only the month of August, 2019 when I entered into the whole dropshipping scenario. Day in and day out, I had been researching and testing products and already spent $1,000 with no returns or so I thought. I kept watching 4-6 hours of YouTube everyday and implementing whatever I learned in the Facebook ads and store. So, it took me about 4 months of rigorous testing and $1,000 to get my first success. For some it might happen sooner or later, but, I guess I got the right amount of time to hone myself to be able to run a proper business and I am glad it took me 4 months.

How does your online business perform now?

Here’s a performance screenshot I want to share:

So, you see nothing goes to waste, you just have to stay till the end, which I did and at the age of 21 I currently have a net worth of $50,000 and no liabilities.

How did you get the right idea for your online business?

To find a winning niche, I did research with the help of Google Trends. Also, checking out popular Facebook videos turned out to be really helpful to see what users want and expect to get.

While choosing the right products to add to my stores, I analyzed the AliExpress stats. Both the product and the supplier must have an average rating of 4.8 stars or more to make me interested. I keep adding new products to my stores from time to time: after an initial check, I test them with Facebook ads. To set the new prices, I usually multiply the original price by 2 – or even by 5 if it’s a low-ticket item.

How do you promote your online store?

I use Facebook and Instagram ads only, didn’t even try any other channels. Getting the right audience for my products is one of the most difficult challenges, so I test out several creatives and copies and do A/B testing to discover the best performing ads. Also, I test several interests at once to determine the best audience for my ads. On average, it costs me around $5,000/month to promote all my 3 stores.

What can you say about your business management?

It takes me around 2-3 hours every day to manage my stores. The most time-consuming task apart from ads testing is product research and product pages editing.

Sometimes, customer service can also be tricky. Usually, about 1% of customers are very difficult to deal with, so I try to keep enough margin to give out refunds. I just price my products as such that for every 100 orders I have at least enough money to maintain my 2x margin even after refunding 5 of them. But buyers are different, of course: my biggest order was for $518 without even a $1 discount. Probably, that guy thought that the price was too low…IDK

What about the legal side of running an online business in India?

Well, I registered my business officially. It’s not really difficult. You must be over 18 years of age, have a government issued ID, and have a rented place with proper lease agreement. Simple and no fuss!

How has your life changed?

Speaking of my daily life, nothing much has changed. But, I have been able to get that dream machine 16″ MacBook Pro and my dream Sony headphones. Just the best combination to get my work done. I don’t want any liabilities or whatsoever and want to invest this money in my future business ventures. You see, in the future, I plan to start my own advertising and marketing agency. I have a long long way to go and be much more successful.

What do your friends and family think about your business?

They couldn’t have been happier. As an Indian family, my family couldn’t believe that I had acquired this much wealth just over the period of 6-7 months. Just to give you a broad picture, in India an entry level software engineer at say Facebook earns only $17,000 base salary in a year. So considering that I had almost earned 4 times of that in just a few months…that was a big feat.

What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?

I would like to tell all of the folks out there, to never give in and just keep going on. I know you must have heard this from everyone. But, trust me you never know when you will get your first taste of success and frankly it won’t come if you are just waiting for something magical to happen. You have to work hard and put the money where your mouth is (Facebook ads and any apps).

Remember, in dropshipping time is of essence. Imagine you are trying to advertise a product which recently went out of trend: you would hardly be successful! So, my advice is: invest money wherever necessary, and don’t try to do everything on your own. Not good at building stores? Pay for it if you can and save your time for other things… don’t break your head over petty things, you can’t be a master at everything so let others – specialists, apps, subscriptions – do their work for the money you paid.

Good luck!

We are beyond grateful to Ankit for his kind and detailed feedback! His experience proves that launching an online business in India is totally worth it – and hopefully, it will encourage you, our dear readers, to make your first steps in dropshipping, too.

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Starting A Business With Little Money: From 0 To €43K+ In 1 Year

Is starting a business with little money really possible? Of course! Even low startup investments can let you start a rewarding ecommerce journey. 

This point is brilliantly proven by Tristan, a well-off dropshipping business owner who kindly agreed to share his first-hand experience in an interview with AliDropship. Let’s hear him out!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m Tristan Gatellier from Paris, France. I am very curious and passionate about technology – so, when I was making my first steps as an online businessman, I already knew how to make a website. Still, I had no practical experience in ecommerce at all – only a bachelor degree in business 🙂

As a newcomer to ecommerce, why did you choose the dropshipping business model?

In my opinion, the dropshipping model is the best model to start with very limited investments. I had almost 0 on my bank account when I started it.

So, what’s your story of starting a business online with little money?  

The truth is, I actually wanted to learn SEO because I wanted to build great websites for my clients and to work like an agency. But I had 0 skills in SEO, so I decided to create a blog to learn and experiment. When this blog started attracting some traffic, I decided to try earning money from that traffic. This is how I learned about dropshipping and figured out that in terms of monetizing a blog, it’s way more lucrative than affiliate marketing.

What technical solutions do you use to power your dropshipping business?

Everybody talks about Shopify, but from the point of view of SEO, WordPress is the best platform for blogging. So that’s what I’ve chosen, and I also benchmarked extra WordPress solutions that would make my blog more business-friendly. AliDropship plugin turned out to be the right software for my goals, so I got its WooCommerce version and that’s how it all began!

Now, I use AliDropship Woo plugin every day. Even though I work with an agent, the plugin helps a lot with products import and shipping tracking. 

How does your business perform now?

I run 2 stores. The first one was launched about a year ago and made €43K during this period. I wasn’t spending much on advertising there, and my profit margin was about 55%.

The second store was launched 2 months ago and made almost €10K during this time. On average, there’s a 25% margin, but it increases with every sale.

Do you remember the first sale you made?

Yes! I sold a moon lamp 🙂 It happened 1 month after launching my first ads. So basically, it took me 1 month of hard work (and isolation) to achieve it. And really, it was like a spark, a spark that tells you that you can make it !

How do you promote your stores?

I mostly focus on SEO and driving organic traffic to my sites, so backlinks and Google Ads work best for me. Facebook ads are not efficient in my niche: the profits they make don’t outweigh the expenses. They can only bring some profits on Christmas or Black Friday.

On average, it costs me €600/month to promote my stores, and I’d say my advertising expenses are pretty low. I do lots of research to understand my target audience, for example, track the search bar on my sites to see what people want. Also, analytics is amazing and helps me a lot: based on the interests of my blog readers, I launched some new products, and it worked great!

How do you choose the niches and products for your stores? 

The first store was logically linked to my SEO blog, and for that blog (and the store topic) I took one of my passions. The product choice there was not easy: I made a lot of mistakes, but that’s how I learned.

For my second store, I used my SEO software and skills that I gained during the creation of my first store. That’s why I was trying to focus on the products with a big number of orders, and to filter out the unsuitable suppliers.

In general, I don’t follow the ‘Hot sale product’ strategy: instead, I rely on SEO because it lasts over time and keeps working in the long term. My business performance results are improving every month because my stores are SEO-friendly. This is the SEO dynamics of my first store, for example:

To set the prices, I usually multiply the supplier’s price by 3, but it depends on the price itself. Sometimes, if the original price is high already, there’s no need to increase it 3 times.

How do you manage your business on a daily basis?

It takes me about 2 hours a day to manage the stores. The hardest task is not to create a store, but to maintain and take care of the incoming orders even if you delegate this part – and I work with an agent now! 

I take time to teach people to do the client support because many clients are worried about the orders’ delivery. It helps a lot if you answer them quickly: if you answer them within 2 hours, even angry customers will relax. And if a customer is still difficult, I have no problem to make a refund. There’s no reason to spend your time on it – isn’t worth it!

Did you register your business officially?

Yes, it’s 100% legal. I live in France, which is one of the most demanding countries in terms of a business registration, so I have to register my business as a real company and pay VAT.

Did starting a business with little money change your life in some way?

Actually, when I discovered the dropshipping business, I understood that it gives the opportunity to move freely all around the world. You can live whenever you want and make money with nothing but a computer. And that’s what I did up until the pandemic – I was travelling all year long!

I have optimistic plans for the future. I want to create stocks out of my best-selling products and build a long-lasting business.

What can you advise our readers?

Remember that short-term money is great, but long-term money is better! You need to plan your business so that it keeps having clients in the future, so think about SEO and invest in customer support!

Thank you, Tristan, for your words of wisdom! This first-hand experience of starting a business with little money is not only insightful and helpful, but really inspiring, too! We hope it will encourage others to set off for an ecommerce journey as well – and we will be more than happy to assist them along the way.

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Making Money In Retirement With Online Business: David’s Story

Do you already have an idea on how you’ll be making money in retirement? It’s a topical issue for hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe. 

David, our today’s guest, has found an elegant solution that works quite well for him. Let’s see what he has to share with us!

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please introduce yourself!

Hi, I’m David Caruso, a Professional Business Speaker from Australia, living in Thailand for the last 10 years. I travel internationally delivering Online Marketing workshops – check more at www.DavidCaruso.com.au

I’ve been a traditional business owner for 20 years. At 40 years of age, I retired and moved to Thailand in 2010. A couple of years later, after getting bored with being retired, I began business motivational speaking, teaching business owners how to work on the online market. At the end of 2018, after 6-7 years of travelling and speaking / teaching others how to do online marketing, I decided to dedicate a year to our own online businesses.

How and why did you start making money in retirement with dropshipping business model?

I thought it’s a great stepping stone (fast and cheap) on finding a good product/niche to delve deeper into.

As a consummate reader and ‘watcher/listener’ for anything about online business activities and marketing, I came across AliDropship solutions eventually. Glad I did! Could not believe the team would build out complete websites from as little as $348 which included the hosting and SSL certificate.

I have tried most of AliDropship solutions. Using both AliDropship original plugin and Woo plugin, I have built multiple stores. Plus, I use the hosting & plugins such as GA Enhanced Ecommerce, Countdown timer, Abandoned Cart, Google Merchant, and Recent Sales Pop Up. Sometimes, I also just buy the plugin to use on small single product websites.

Living in a really small Thai fishing village, we have made a small Digital Nomad club here. There are now around 4 or 5 us doing dropshipping. We are using your products (I am an affiliate also), and it lets us grow together and learn from each other.

Do you remember the first sale you made with a dropshipping store?

I don’t really remember the first sale … but with that said I am still excited today about every sale we make, about each new store gaining traction and developing. The buzz of selling online is real and not sure if it is something I will ever get tired of. Especially as we open more new stores … the buzz of those stores getting sales and growing is pretty cool.

The usual pattern for every store is to generate the first sale in around 4-6 weeks after launch. To make it happen, we design, tweak, and thoroughly test product pages. Once we have that done, we drive traffic to it as much as possible.

How does your business perform now?

We started the year (2019) with a couple of stores doing under $2K per month.  

Today we have 40+ stores and we are still building more. 

November, 2019 was our best month – $110K AUD turnover – which is a 55x increase from the start of the year.

We have bigger plans and turnover expectations for 2020.

I’ll show some examples of these stores functioning:

Can you see that the currency is varying from screenshot to screenshot?

That’s right: these stores are aimed at different geographic regions.

How do you create and grow these businesses?

We usually begin with creating a general store. Then, we see what ‘rises to the top’, and break that out into single product stores or specific niche stores.

To choose the right products, we view the supplier’s star rating, see how long they have been operating, read some of their reviews, and check if they use ePacket. We do like to use stores that are not general but relatively specialised in the products they offer. We then assume they are not agents but the actual supplier.

We’re always adding new products based on the feedback from customers as we track their questions and enquiries made on the site.

When it comes to pricing, we generally go with the default settings when the store is built. If we see a particular product rising to the top, we would start to do some further market research and perform a competitor analysis. We use ISearchFrom to see what type of ads in the country we are targeting are coming up and what is being offered.

Even though we are running online stores, the success of our business is still largely based on how well we can market. One of the most important aspects of marketing is knowing who your customer is and what their fears/motivations are when they are looking to buy a service or product from your offering. Most typically, understanding our customer segments basically goes through putting ourselves in the customers’ shoes and then doing the competitor analysis on who is offering what and how much.

And how do you promote your stores?

Putting new stores into operation, we promote them with Google Shopping and Google AdWords only. Plus, we do basic on-page SEO, but don’t invest much time into it initially. Only in 6-12 months after a store launch, if it’s clear that the store has good potential, we start full-scale SEO efforts. 

We’re also delving into social media marketing, namely Pinterest Ads and Instagram, with a few specialist virtual assistants. I myself have spent thousands on Facebook marketing, but could not get a ROI on my spendings.

In November, we spent $15K on marketing. We have some stores and niches with as low as 7% ad spend to revenue – these results are achieved thanks to successfully working SEO. At the same time, for other stores and niches, this indicator is around 22%: these stores are new, and SEO has not started to work there yet. 

What can you tell about your business routine?

Customer service is a time drain, but the most difficult challenges are inconsistency of suppliers and delivery times. 

Here’s what we do to fix this. Once we find a product/niche that is doing well, we bulk buy that product from a supplier on Alibaba, send it to Amazon, and then use their FBA services to ship form. It’s also possible to get a few sales from Amazon directly, but we are mostly using their services to store and ship items more conveniently.

How do you deal with difficult customers? Are there any funny/sad stories?

We are polite but firm. There are great company policies clearly outlined, plus, we have plenty of ‘set/pre-written’ email signatures that our team regularly use.

And for the funny stories… Just the other day a customer in Australia complained that we had sent the wrong size product, and actually sent a picture of the product and them holding a tape measure against it. They said that they had ordered a 60cm wide item and that what we sent them was only 23 wide (you could clearly see the 23 on the tape measure the customer was holding). The whole office was laughing and in stitches as we politely told the customer to turn the tape measure around as the side they were using was measuring inches (23 inches) and the reverse side of the tape was in cm (60cm) and that is what they ordered. 

Did you have to register your business officially to make money in retirement legally?

Yes, we have a company structure in Thailand and Australia. We run all our stores under the Thailand company structure, and we are pretty lucky that regulations (and even taxes) are pretty lax here at the moment.

How has your life changed?

The only thing that has changed is that we did not have to travel as much this year (my wife and I are almost 50). We used to travel constantly because of my speaking career, and even though it sounds exciting, it stops being so fun after a while.

As for the nearest business future, I’m planning to build the sites up and flip a few on Empire Flippers.

What can you advise our readers – those who already run their stores and those who didn’t start the business yet?

Don’t believe all the stories of people saying they make a fortune with only a few hours per day work. Put the effort in and the rewards will be there. Get extra good at marketing … that is what will set you apart from your competitors.

Our success in a real world business and with our online businesses basically comes down to good business marketing acumen combined with a good work ethic.

So, if you’ve been looking for a safe, legal, and efficient way to make money in retirement, David’s experience can be of great use to you! Maybe, you’ll be the next person to share a new success story to share with the dropshipping community – who knows? 😉

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